My backup strategy (before and after)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NatefromRI, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. NatefromRI macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    #1
    I thought I would explain what my setup was like and solicit some feedback because I've really become interested in being cautious and backing up my files in a systematic manner. Perhaps it is a bit redundant, but so far it seems to be working relatively* well. (More on that in a moment)

    OK, so I have an early 2009 iMac 24" 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (8GB RAM) w/640GB hard drive.

    OLD BACKUP PLAN
    Initially I purchased a 2TB WD USB external hard drive and used that for Time Machine. I had all my files on my internal hard drive (iTunes music, books, and apps, iPhoto pics and home videos, etc.) with the exception of my commercial movie collection in iTunes which I put in a folder on the same external drive as Time Machine. I also utilize Backblaze.com for off-site backup. I realized two potential problems with this set up:

    1. My internal hard drive was down to approximately 330GB of space due to the amount of iTunes songs, TV shows, home videos, etc. There appeared to me to be a performance reduction (maybe there was, maybe not, but that was my perception) The main culprit was the amount of home videos I was creating on my iPhone taking up lots of space. 1080P iPhone 4s movies take up a LOT of space!

    2. Since my commercial movie collection was on the same drive as Time Machine, they weren't being backed up in Time Machine. (I never partitioned it as a separate drive) So, if that drive quit on me, I'd potentially lose all my movies.

    NEW BACKUP PLAN
    I purchased a second 2TB WD external drive (this one is Firewire 800). I transferred my entire collection of iTunes files and iPhoto files to this external drive and also moved all my commercial movies from the original 2TB drive to this new drive. This had the following benefits:

    1. I got back most of my internal hard drive space. I'm sitting at 572GB of free space on there now.
    2. I allocated the entire original 2TB drive (USB) to be used by Time Machine since I moved the commercial movies off this drive.
    3. Time Machine now backs up my commercial movie collection since they sit on a different drive than Time Machine.

    As a result, I've seen some interesting things occurring now with Time Machine as far as space is concerned. Considering it is a 2TB drive, I initially expected to see more free space on the Time Machine drive, but I only currently have 594GB remaining on the Time Machine drive. I suspect that this is probably as a result of my moving my iTunes and iPhoto collection to the external drive and I believe that Time Machine is backing up basically two copies of my iTunes and iPhoto library (one from the original internal hard drive and one from the new external hard drive.

    Would you think that this is the reason that my 2TB Time Machine drive only has 594GB remaining? Can I expect Time Machine to eventually drop the backup of iTunes and iPhoto files that I originally had on my internal hard drive since it now resides on my new external drive?

    I guess I should just let Time Machine do it's magic, but I won't deny that I've been tempted to go in and try to manually find out what is taking up all this space. The new drive that contains all my files has 1.66TB free so I would have expected that the Time Machine Drive would have more space.

    I continue to use Backblaze.com for off-site storage too.

    Any thoughts on the setup? Thanks for your input!

    --Nate
     
  2. NatefromRI thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    #2
    Well, I'll post an addendum to my original posting. I forgot to do this until tonight...since I added the new FireWire 2TB drive recently which contains my entire library of music, photos and movies, I hadn't gone into the BackBlaze control panel to add this drive so ONLY my internal hard drive was being backed up offsite. I added the external drive through the panel and it now appears that BackBlaze is scheduled to backup this drive at approximately 47GB per day until my library is backed up.

    I'm glad I checked! That would have been very disappointing to say the least if I paid $189 some day in the future to recover my files only to receive no movies, songs or most importantly, photos!
     
  3. AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #3
    All content purchased with your apple ID can be recovered so that is safe. As for time machine, it likes to take up as much space of the backup disk for no good reason. It also only backups what is on your computer. Whatever is on the second external hard drive will not be backed up to time machine.
     
  4. Chabba macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    #4
    It does have a good reason. There are multiple copies of files, allowing the user to restore to earlier times, not just the previous backup.
     
  5. Stolz25 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    #5
    I have a question about that. Does it only save multiple copies of a file if it changes between backups or does it make an entirely new copy of the HD each backup?

    Also, when the backup fills up does time machine automatically start dumping the oldest files or do you have to manually clear them?
     
  6. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #6
    Time Machine can be used in different ways:
    http://www.techbitnbyte.com/how-to-configure-time-machine-backups-explained/

    I still have mine backing up 3 Macs...My iMac, MBP and MBA. I recently bought a Pegasus R4, which takes good care of the iMac, but is obviously not backing up the other two. I may erase the TC, and set it up to back up the two portables, since the iMac is well covered by the R4

    Out of the box, your TC will take daily, weekly and monthly backups for all machines you set it up to monitor. It also keeps a local snapshot on the HDD's of the Macs it's taking care of. When you run out of space on the TC, it overwrites the oldest backup with the newest etc.

    Since my two portables backup over wifi, and the TC also acts as my router, I'm going to keep it as is apart from removing the iMac from it's backup list. Another thing to check is the exclude list in TM preferences...Make sure it's not set to back up the external as well, although it will normally pick this up automatically.
     
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    Slight correction. Out of the box...TM (not TC) will take hourly backups if the computer is available. From there... as data ages... it keeps less frequent versions. Hence... data changing within that past few days will have hourly versions. As you move back in time, you will get less frequent versions... such as daily, weekly, or monthly.

    In all cases, you will have your most recent data of every file. You will also have older versions of the data... except that as you go back in time, the granularity of that data becomes more coarse... as it should.

    BTW: I also have a Pegasus R4 and it is fantastic.

    /Jim
     
  8. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #8
    Yep. once under control they are great...That split drive is insanely fast...Being me, I had to take them all out to see what Promise are using...All Seagate Barracuda XT's...Wonder what happened to WD? As far as TM goes, mine must have been different cause that is exactly what it did (as I posted above)...Since it's only now going to be used for my MBP and MBA, both of which are in the process of clean installations of Lion, It's a good time to erase it. I might stick a partition on it for bits and pieces of stuff, but it's certainly is overkill backing my iMac up to it when the R4 is doing that job too.
     
  9. NatefromRI thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    #9
    Good info on the stuff purchased with Apple ID. But to be clear, Time Machine DOES backup what's on my second external drive once you check the drive in the settings for Time Machine. That's where my entire iTunes library is located.
     
  10. Chabba macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    #10
    I believe it saves only changed files. Typical backup software automatically begins to dump the oldest copies in favor of new copies.
     
  11. NatefromRI thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    #11
    I reformatted my Time Machine drive today since the lack of space was driving me a bit crazy. Now my space allocation is as follows:

    Macintosh HD: 639.28 GB, 570 GB free
    The Silver Drive: 2TB, 1.63 TB free (this is the drive that contains my files)
    Time Machine Backup: 2TB, 1.58 TB free (backs up the HD and the Silver Drive)

    I think after this experience that any time library files are moved from one drive to another, it may make sense to reformat Time Machine and do a fresh backup to stop multiple copies of libraries from being placed on the Time Machine drive.

    Here are two great links I found recently related to Time Machine:

    A REALLY GREAT site which pretty much tells you everything you want to know and more about Time Machine and how it works:
    http://pondini.org/TM/Home.html

    A great video on how to delete backups from Time Machine without "getting screwed":
    http://vimeo.com/3268578

    Hope you enjoy!

    --Nate
     
  12. AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #12
    It seems like a very long process to reformat the Time Machine every time you move library files from one drive to the next, especially when you have several hundred gigs.
     
  13. NatefromRI thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    #13
    Well, I don't personally plan on moving files to other drives very often although I could see how some might. I didn't know how long it would take before I reformatted the drive and was initially regretful when Time Machine first reported that it would take 12 hours to put the files back, but throughout the day the reported time kept recalculating to a smaller amount of time. By the time it was all said and done, it took approximately 3 hours to move 400GB of data to the drive (via USB). And it's not like I couldn't use my computer while it was happening so it was fine.

    And technically, the reformatting itself was very quick. What took the most time was putting the files back on there. ;)

    --Nate
     

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